Siena Cathedral

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Siena, Italy, check out the magnificent Siena Cathedral:


It’s a seriously impressive church built in medieval times.  Inside, you’ll find the chapel of Saint John the Baptist and numerous works of art, including some from Bernini and a  young Michelangelo.

Depending on whether you go during peak tourist season or not, admission is either free or around 8 euro.  Recommended!

Sunset in Arcos de la Frontera, Andalusia, Spain

I took this photo on the winding streets of Arcos de la Frontera, in the Andalusia region of Spain.  Love the streetlight glow reflecting off the cobblestone walkway:


In many places throughout town, the streets are so narrow, you’ll need to fold your car’s mirrors to fit.  It’s a challenging drive, as locals will whip around corners in their cars and come up behind you suddenly.

It’s worth going though.  There are many beautiful churches and castles high up on the cliffs of this town, along with excellent tapas and friendly people.  You may even come across a falconer.  (We did, and it was great fun holding his powerful birds of prey.)  I’ll save that story for another post.

View from a Cable Car in the Alps, Mürren, Switzerland

My wife and I visited Mürren a little while back and it was a fantastic experience. Welcoming, friendly, and hard-working people. Our toddler was with us too and didn’t get the slightest hint of altitude sickness.

For anyone worrying about cable car safety, it’s actually better than trains and planes. The few serious accidents I read about had to do with the cars being used in improper ways, which we definitely did not do. Lots of fun and very safe!

From Wikipedia, emphasis mine:

Mürren is a traditional Walser mountain village in the Bernese Highlands of Switzerland, at an elevation of 1,638 metres (5,374 feet) above sea level and it cannot be reached by public road. It is also one of the popular tourist spots in Switzerland, and summer and winter are the seasons when Mürren becomes busy with the tourists; the village features a view of the three towering mountains Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Mürren has a year-round population of 450, but has 2,000 hotel beds. Mürren has its own school and two churches, one Reformed and one Roman Catholic.

San Francisco Civic Center at Night

I took this photo of the streets by the San Francisco Civic Center with an iPhone 3GS back in 2011.  At the time, I thought it came out pretty well for a 3 megapixel phone camera:


Still, it makes you appreciate just how far phone cameras have come in 10 years.  The iPhone 11 is up to 12 megapixels now, with a much better sensor, not to mention night mode.

Looking forward to my next phone upgrade so I can update this post with a newer version of this photo, for comparison.

Trader Joe’s Swiss Dark Chocolate Bar with 30% Whole Hazelnuts – The Real Deal

My wife and I visited Switzerland a couple of years ago and of course had to try their chocolate.  We sampled many bars, and found most of them smooth, creamy, and natural tasting, with none of the artificial sweetness you’d find in a Hershey’s or Nestle bar.

Our favorite was a brand we won’t name, and which is generally unavailable in the United States.  To our surprise we found the exact same bar under private label at Trader Joe’s!  (We are not naming the original Swiss brand name because we don’t want to give away Trader Joe’s supply chain secrets.)

$3.99 at Trader Joe’s for a huge 200 gram bar (we’ve eaten most of the bar pictured below) – so good:


Swiss Cow
Cow in ‎⁨Mürren⁩, ⁨Bern⁩, ⁨Switzerland⁩